New bill would create Tennessee Missing Children’s Day

JACKSON, Tenn. — “She was on second visitation with her father. He had taken a nap out in the parking lot at the mall in Jackson, Tennessee, and he let Bethany go in the mall, and she’s gone,” Jonnie Carter said of her daughter, who went missing in 2001 at the age of 11.

Carter says Bethany Markowski was a smart and sassy girl with a kind heart. She still wonders “what if?”

“What if she doesn’t like me? What if she doesn’t love me? What if she blames me for not finding her?” Carter said.

And she’s not the only one who continues to remember Bethany.

“This really hit home because my daughter and Bethany were about the same age, and I think of Bethany every day. I really do,” said Capt. Mike Holt of the Jackson Police Department.

Holt says he was one of the officers called out to investigate Bethany’s disappearance.

“I’m approaching the end of my 35-year career here, and there are cases that you just don’t ever forget,” Capt. Holt said “And Bethany will certainly be one of the ones that I carry with me.”

So Jonnie joined with State Rep. Darren Jerrigan to come up with a way to not forget Bethany Markowski and missing children like her.

“With nearly 70 children missing in Tennessee, it’s an opportunity to pick a day that Tennessee, as a state, can observe and share with these families,” Rep. Jerrigan said.

And what more perfect day than March 4, the day Bethany was last seen alive. The proposed legislation would mark that date as Tennessee Missing Children’s Day.

“And I know Bethany would be proud,” Carter said.

Anyone with information in Bethany’s disappearance or the disappearance of any Tennessee missing children can contact the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-TBI-FIND.